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Returning Hit Shows and Sports Remain the Hot Ticket on the Broadcast Networks This Fall

The Art of Competitive Sports, Particularly the NFL, Remains in Great Demand

Unlike the cable networks and the digital streamers, which has no set pattern for introducing new show, the Big 4 broadcasters (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) gut the third week of September with the majority of new fall primetime programs. The CW wisely waits until a week or two later to avoid the clutter.

In this era of “Peak TV,” where over 500 scripted series — a historical high — compete each season for the available audience, naturally it is more challenging than ever before to find an audience. And we will see a roster of 17 new primetime television series on the five broadcasters this fall. The breakdown by new series is nine scripted dramas, seven scripted sitcoms, and the non-scripted reboot of “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” hosted by Tiffany Haddish, on ABC.

Based on the first three nights of this new TV season (Monday, Sept. 23 through Wednesday, Sept. 25), not one of these new entries has garnered much audience sampling. This includes sitcoms “Bob Hearts Abishola” (CBS) and “Mixed-ish” (ABC); and dramas “All Rise” (CBS), “Bluff City Law” (NBC), “Prodigal Son” (Fox), “Emergence” (ABC) and “Stumptown” (ABC). Since most new series drop by 10 to 20 percent both in audience size and by the demographics in episode two (and the common consensus is to keep the expectations low for the remaining new fall network entries), these broadcasters remain reliant on two key programming factors every season.

The first are returning favorites, something like military drama “NCIS” on CBS, competition series “The Voice” on NBC and “Survivor” on CBS; or NBC’s “Chicago”-set franchise (“Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD”) — shows that can keep the audience intact year after year. And, of course, there is the NFL, which consistently tops the ratings and will be featured this fall again on NBC each Sunday and now on Fox each Thursday. CBS, additionally, always gets a boost when football on Sunday afternoon bleeds into primetime.

No stranger to ranking first overall for the week, football on the broadcast networks in primetime has been a staple since “Monday Night Football” on ABC (where it aired through 2005, and is now on ESPN). Each fall in recent years, NBC has consistently dominated the primetime landscape because of football. CBS and NBC have also benefitted by sharing the “Thursday Night Football” roster, which also dominates week after week. And now Fox, which has inherited the Thursday games, is about to see its overall ratings get a significant boost.

Any sports match-ups, of course, are synonymous with gambling. The drive in humans to gamble on sports seems to be almost as strong as the drive to participate in them, according to experts. People have been betting on the outcome of sporting events since ancient times. And bookmaker William Hill, which offers betting by phone and the Internet remains the largest UK operator. For more, visit

As for the broadcast networks there will be an additional 20 new series rolled out later in the season -— 12 dramas, seven sitcoms and one realty/competition. That brings the grand total to about 37 new series. But now matter how hard these outlets try, nothing can top the true art of competitive sports (and the NFL, in particular).